The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Reviving a refrigerated starter

Mottav's picture

Reviving a refrigerated starter

I am new to the sourdough game and thought that I was doing so well as my starter took off over the first 3 days. The problem was that I had an unexpected business trip that I had to go on and needed to refrigerate my new starter.

I have been trying to revive the starter for several days now but I am just getting a whole lot of Hooch and no activity. I have been feeding 2:1 KA AP flour and 80 F tap water 2-3 times/day but it just wont take off like it did from the get go. One thing I have not been doing is discarding as I feed. I was under the impression that you only discarded as the beasties grew.

Please help...I dont want to start over again.

beeman1's picture

Is there chlorine in your tap water? If there is the chlorine might be killing the yeast and bacteria. I get my water from the glacear machine at publix I have also used bottled spring water. 

LindyD's picture

Discard a good portion of the starter and substitute rye (preferably organic) for the AP.

If you don't have rye, use bread flour, but rye is preferable.

If your water is chlorinated, pour a jug the night before and let it sit overnight.

Be patient.

Mottav's picture

How many days should I feed and discard in order to get a strong starter?

Also, when storing in the fridge do you cap the starter or leave it open to the air?

Sorry I am asking so many questions. These things just are not clear in the instructions I followed.

Mottav's picture

Thank you very much for the response. How many days should I repeat the feeding and discarding process in order to get a strong starter?

Also, when storing in the fridge should the starter be in an air tight jar?

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

This article helped me immensely to get my starter going (link is below).  I did not use the pineapple, just bottled spring water, and I'm really pleased with the results. Also, for awhile after a slow start, I placed it in a very warm spot (80-82 degrees F) for a few days to kick-start it.  Now it will double in less than 4 hours in my cool house (68 degrees).

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

3 days is not very old... and then refrigerated.  Hmmm. 

Something you said I would like to know more about...   " I am just getting a whole lot of Hooch and no activity."    ... contradictions of terms because hooch is a sign of much activity.  So, is it hooch or is it separation of water and flour?  If it is flour and water separation, which I highly suspect... then:

Keep a tablespoon, add 1/4 cup of water and little bit more than 1/4 cup flour to make about 1/2 cup of starter and let it sit for 12 hours, stir it often about every 3 hours or so to mix up the separating flour and water.  Don't cover too tightly so any gasses that form can escape.  Just wrap plastic wrap over the bowl and spoon so you can easily check on it, give it a little stir and wrap it up again.  You will want to feed at 12 hours,  remove a spoonful, discard the rest and proceed to feed.  There are changes going on in the starter we cannot see so it is wise to discard and feed regularly even when it looks like nothing is going on.  If it's warm enough and wet enough (think pancake batter)  trust me, things are happening.